Boom over the border

09.02.21: CHEAP LABOUR from the United States is helping to fund Mexico's economic boom.

Now the two countries have struck an historic deal to open their borders and begin an era of co-operative prosperity.

In a move that he called "unimaginable even 10 years ago", President Hyde of the US signed a treaty with President Lopez of Mexico today that could end the two countries' ongoing border disputes.

In the first phase of the agreement, US border guards will cease to patrol. Border stations will stay where they are but only to conduct spot checks. The two countries will together police Mexico's southern border with Guatemala.

Most Mexican nationals will be free to live and work in the US. Those already working there illegally will be allowed to apply for social security numbers and green cards.

Had these measures been introduced 25 years earlier, the red tape alone would have cost a fortune. But for most Mexicans today, the era of northward economic migration is over, and Mexico's booming IT industry has brought living standards up to the level of many parts of the US.

Earlier it was common to hear of US businesses using cheap illegal labour from south of the border. Not any more. Mexican businessmen are sending their labour-intensive piecework to be carried out in sweatshops in the US. Executives from the north are meanwhile flooding into Baja California.

Last year, the mayor of Guadalajara was forced out of office when it was found that his textile companies were using illegal labour ­ direct from America. NF